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Miranda vs.

Arizona (NOTE: The focus of this case in the case book is the Origins and Rationale of the Rights Under Section 12. It discusses only how the modern-practice of interrogation systems work in the US as indicated in police manuals and texts. Facts and issues are provided for background) FACTS (from The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) consolidated four separate cases with issues regarding the admissibility of evidence obtained during police interrogations. The first Defendant, Ernesto Miranda (Mr. Miranda), was arrested for kidnapping and rape. Mr. Miranda was an immigrant, and although the officers did not notify Mr. Miranda of his rights, he signed a confession after two hours of investigation. The signed statement included a statement that Mr. Miranda was aware of his rights. The second Defendant, Michael Vignera (Mr. Vignera), was arrested for robbery. Mr. Vignera orally admitted to the robbery to the first officer after the arrest, and he was held in detention for eight hours before he made an admission to an assistant district attorney. There was no evidence that he was notified of his Fifth Amendment constitutional rights. The third Defendant, Carl Calvin Westover (Mr. Westover), was arrested for two robberies. Mr. Westover was questioned over fourteen hours by local police, and then was handed to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, who were able to get signed confessions from Mr. Westover. The authorities did not notify Mr. Westover of his Fifth Amendment constitutional rights. The fourth Defendant, Roy Allen Stewart (Mr. Stewart), was arrested, along with members of his family (although there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by his family) for a series of purse snatches. There was no evidence that Mr. Stewart was notified of his rights. After nine interrogations, Mr. Stewart admitted to the crimes. We deal with the admissibility of statements obtained from an individual who is subjected to custodial police investigation and the necessity for procedures which assure that the individual is accorded his privilege under the 5th Amendment of the Constitution not to be compelled to incriminate himself.

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That prior to questioning, person must be warned that he has the right to remain silent, that any statement he makes may be used as evidence against him. That he has a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed.

Defendant may waive these rights, provided the waiver is voluntarily, knowingly and intelligently. Instances when police cannot question a defendant: 1. If defendant indicates in any manner that he wants to consult an attorney before speaking; and 2. If defendant is alone and does not wish to be interrogated.

DOCTRINE: Each defendant was questioned by police officers, detectives, or a prosecuting attorney in a room where he was cut off from the outside world. No warning regarding his rights was given prior to the interrogation process. All defendants were questioned incommunicado, in a police-dominated atmosphere, resulting in self-incriminating statements without warnings of constitutional rights. In the 1930s, it is clear that police violence and the third degree flourished. The police resulted to physical brutality and to sustained and protracted questioning incommunicado in order to extort confessions. 1961 Commission on Civil Rights Indicates that some policemen still employ physical force to obtain confessions. The modern practice of in-custody interrogation is psychologically rather than physically oriented. The Court recognized that coercion can also be mental not only physical. Valuable information about present police practices are found in various police manuals and texts which document procedures employed with success in the past. These are used as guides. They are apparently, the most enlightened and effective means professedly used to obtain statements through custodial interrogation. Each is described below: 1. Privacy is a principal psychological factor contributing to a successful interrogation. The interrogation must take place in the office of the investigator where he possesses all advantages and where the atmosphere suggests the invincibility of the force of law. If interrogated in defendants own home, he is more keenly aware of his rights and more reluctant to tell of his indiscretions of criminal behavior. The presence of his family and other friends also lend moral support. He must be deprived of every psychological advantage. Police should display an air of confidence in the suspects guilt. The suspects guilt must be posited as a fact. Interrogator must focus on why the subject committed an act rather than asking the subject whether he did it. Designed to put the subject in a psychological state where his story is now only an elaboration of what the police purport to know already that he is guilty. Patience and Perseverance When emotional appeals and tricks do not work, interrogator must rely on an oppressive atmosphere of dogged persistence.

ISSUE: Whether statements obtained from a defendant questioned while in custody and deprived of his freedom of action are admissible. HELD: NO. The prosecution may not use statements, whether exculpatory, stemming from custodial interrogation of the defendant, unless it demonstrates the use of procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination. Custodial Interrogation questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way. Procedural Safeguards Employed: 2.



Interrogate steadily and without relent; Dominate his subject and overwhelm him with his inexorable will to obtain the truth; Interrogate for several hours pausing only for subjects necessities to avoid a charge of duress. Interrogation may continue for days, with intervals for food and sleep but the atmosphere of domination is sustained. This method should only be used when guilt of the suspect is highly probable.

The current practice of incommunicado is at odds with the principle that the individual may not be compelled to incriminate himself. Unless adequate protective devices are employed, no statement obtained can be truly the product of free choice.

Offer suspect legal excuses for his actions to obtain an initial admission of guilt. Having then obtained the admission of the crime, the interrogator is to rely on circumstantial evidence which negates self-defense explanation. This secures the entire story. Show some hostility One ploy used is the friendly-unfriendly or Mutt and Jeff Two agents are employed, Mutt, the relentless investigator and Jeff, the kind-hearted man. It is applied having both investigators present while Mutt acts out his role. Jeff may stand by quietly and demur some of Mutts tactics. When Jeff makes his plea of cooperation, Mutt is not present in the room. Induce confession out of trickery. Subject is placed in a line-up. A witness previously coached studies the line-up and confidently points out the subject as the guilty party. Questioning resumes as though there was no doubt about the subjects guilt. Reverse Line-Up: Accused is places in a line-up, identified by several fictitious witnesses or victims associating him with different offenses. Subject will become desperate and confess offense in order to escape from false accusations. When the individual refuses to discuss the matter entirely, or asks for an attorney or relative, the examiner is to concede him the right to remain silent. This has an undermining effect. 1) He is disappointed in his expectation of an unfavourable effect on the part of the investigator; 2) A concession of the right to remain silent impresses the subject with the apparent fairness of the investigator. But after this, the officer is to point the incriminating significance of the suspects refusal to talk.




From these samples of interrogation techniques, the essence is to be alone with the subject to prevent distraction and to deprive him of any outside support. Even without employing brutality or the third degree, the specific stratagems above exacts a heavy toll on individual liberty and trades on the weakness of individuals. In each of the cases, the defendant was thrust into an unfamiliar atmosphere and run through menacing police interrogation procedures. Such an environment is created for no purpose other than to subjugate the individual to the will of his examiner, to intimidate him. It is not physical intimidation but is equally destructive of human dignity.